Bye Bye Baby
I took my four-almost-five year old with me the grocery store today. As he hopped into his booster seat, chirping of this and that, I looked across the back seat to where his older brother usually sits. Piles of books fill the bench seat now, where there was once teething rings, rattle toys and crushed Cheerios.
Ok, there’s still crushed Cheerios. Anyway…
I grumbled about having to buckle the seatbelt for him.
“When are you going to learn to buckle yourself?” I griped.
“When I’m five!” Dimples. Those dimples.
Just a few months more, I thought to myself. And then it struck me.
It’s just a few months more. Our baby days are truly and officially, behind us.
We’re entering a whole new era of school plays and field trips, where there was once just preschool and playgrounds. For the duration of my injured foot, they put themselves to bed and took their baths with no help from me. I could hardly wait for my convalescence to end so I could get back to being needed again.
These days are numbered. Counting down so quickly I can hardly catch my breath. I am eager for this next phase of our lives, yet I dread the loss of my little boys. Tonka trucks and tricycles will be replaced soon enough with iPods and video thingmajiggers that I’m already too uncool to understand.
Little boys rapidly blooming into big boys. And in one blink – they’ll be men.
It’s been enough. I don’t regret a single choice. I don’t regret not “trying for a girl” any more than I regret our decision to wait four years in between. We are just right as we are.
The weight of this transition steals my breath and I wonder how the next one will feel, and if it, too, will feel like it was only five minutes ago when I was waking in the night for a feeding or a nightmare.
I’m already being peppered with questions progressively more difficult. Questions I am not yet ready to answer.
“Are parents actually the tooth fairy?”
“How does the Easter bunny know where we live?”
“When can I drive the car?”
“What’s a virgin?” (I tried, carefully, to explain. As such, the very next remark out of his mouth was: “Oh! So I’m a virgin!” Uh….)
There will be other hard questions, just around the bend, more complicated and awkward than those. The days of fantasy and imagination, for my oldest boy, are fading fast.
And so I try to eat every moment, consume it and breathe it in, making it a part of me that can never be stolen or forgotten. Lord willing, there will one day be wee ones with their daddys’ blue eyes and dimples and I can do it all over again.
But I’ll send them home to their fathers when the hard questions come. It’s only fair.